How to Work with Your Food Cravings Rather Than Against Them
Trying to beat your food cravings with sheer determination and willpower is almost impossible—you’re battling your hormones and habits constantly.
Working with your food cravings rather than fighting them is a smarter and more effective approach.
If the food cravings are strong and you desperately rely on willpower to pull you through, you may find yourself giving up and binge eating the very foods you were trying to avoid.
Very often, you’ll eat more than youíd normally have if you werenít denying yourself. Another common consequence will be to totally give up on your diet just because you slipped up.
The best way to cope with strong food cravings is to indulge sparingly. For example, if youíre used to eat half a tub of ice cream every night, denying yourself this guilty pleasure can be complicated.
Instead of cutting it out completely, treat yourself to just one scoop a night. This too may seem difficult, but itís more manageable.
Over time, you can go down to half a scoop and finally eliminate the habit.
This applies to ALL food cravings. Consume 25% to 50% of your normal portion that you are accustomed to. Then reduce the servings gradually until they’re no longer a habit.
Find healthier alternatives
Most unhealthy foods have healthier alternatives. Cold fresh fruit is better than ice cream. Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate or marshmallows. Homemade burgers are better than junk food. Instead of eating the old foods you are used to, try alternatives that come close but are healthier and contain fewer calories.
Observe your patterns
Keeping a journal will help you spot patterns in your behavior. Record down the times of day when you have strong food cravings. What foods do you long for? How often does this happen?
You’ll soon discover that your cravings are not as random as you think. You may crave foods when youíre tired or bored or just watching TV. This is emotional hunger where the food is used to make you feel happy.
Once you understand your behavior patterns, you can break these patterns to avoid your food cravings.
For example, if youíre used to staying up late at night and munching on snacks, you may wish to have two exercise sessions early in the day so that youíre tired out and go to bed early.
No longer will you be a night owl hooting for snacks because you will have shattered your pattern.
Self-reflection is another fantastic way to put yourself in the driverís seat rather than being a slave to your tongue. Whenever you have food cravings, ask yourself why youíre cleaning up your diet and lifestyle. Once you know your goal, these little cravings become easy sacrifices because you’re preparing to achieve bigger things in your life.
Make gradual changes
One of the best ways to avoid food cravings is to take the slow and steady approach to clean up your diet. Old habits die hard. Trying to go cold turkey and overhauling your diet overnight may work for a few people, but this will be a hard struggle for the majority.
It’s easier to gradually reduce your consumption of detrimental foods until your diet is wholesome and nutritious.
At the end of the day, a healthy diet is not a sprint but a marathon. Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.
So sensibly approach the process, and you’ll be able to mitigate your cravings so that they don’t trip you up and discourage you.